By Edwin Madu
It is my sincerest wish that you are sitting down as you read this.
The year is not relevant. At least not yet. But keep in mind it is in the future. Not too far, but far enough for everything I’m about to tell you to be entirely new to you. There is an uprising and the people are pissed as fuck. They have finally gotten angry enough to do something. The people I speak of are from a country in West Africa with a name that generally raises suspicion around the world. And if you were to ask me what had them pissed the fuck off, I wouldn’t know where to begin.
In this year I have refused to name, things have started to happen to certain people. People who were of importance in the regime that held sway before the present one. This uprising comes at the beginning of his first term. Him, the one we will henceforth refer to as Mr Kwa Ropshun. And while I know that you are reading this in the past, I feel a little history is in order for those who are unaware of Mr Ropshun and the things he promised; the things he then did after promising. While he ran, Mr Ropshun had one statement for the people and it began, and ended, with the word “Change”. He shouted it from rally buses, it said so on his billboards. “THERE WILL BE CHANGE.” And the people bought it. In the first four years of his rule, the people did see change, but it was nothing like they had expected. It got so bad that the people started to wish for their previous ruler, a man who, if we were to describe humans with only a word, would be called slow. But wishing helped nothing and so the people found out that suffering was a thing with a closet full of dresses. And so every day suffering wore a new dress and did a catwalk for the people and they stared at it and marvelled at its curves. Some curves were high, like the prices of literally everything money could buy. Some parts sunk, inwards, like the standard of living and state of infrastructure. Oh, yes, suffering was the belle of the ball under Mr Ropshun. And of course, there were many excuses for why the country was the way it was. Many of them littered with economic jargon that I will not get into because it is all bullshit.
In the years before Ropshun, in the time of his slow predecessor, insurgency had risen to alarming heights and killings in the Northern parts of the country had become so frequent that pictures of dismembered bodies on the front page on newspapers did not elicit gasps or teeth sucking any longer. People looked and moved on. Some people looked and in their hearts thought about the possibility that these dead were in a better place now that they did not have to bear with the pain that came with calling Ropshun your president. And these killings continued and although they got more spaced out with each passing day, it was still clear that this country was not safe in any form.
The devastation in the north left some people alive, and these people became refugees in their own country, having to live in camps with conditions so harsh that some camps soon made neighbours of cemeteries because the frequency with which death visited was simply ridiculous. While you may be quick to call the people heartless for not being there for their northern brothers and sisters in these times, I will urge you to wait and hear the truth. Donations were made, from far and wide.
The government allocated money. The people were going to help their northern brothers and sisters. But guess what? Several elected officials under Ropshun made sure none, or very little, of the things donated ever went to the people who needed them. And this theft was found out. There was an uproar. No one went to jail.
There were several such uproars during Ropshun’s tenure.
- That time when he promised to eradicate corruption (he pronounced it kwaropshun because of his accent) caused by the previous administration while watching the economy crumble
- That other time when he caught certain people and claimed to have seized monies from them that were never seen or heard about again
- Or when he populated his cabinet with people who were utterly clueless about the ministries they were handling.
Although the phrase is truly hackneyed, I can tell you for a fact that the list does go on. A great uproar came again when some of these camps, already defrauded, were “accidentally bombed” by the country’s own military.
Ropshun had gained a reputation for never speaking when people were being killed. There were SEVERAL such instances, both in the north and south. But on the occasion of this accidental bombing, he tweeted what might be said to be an apology, regret note? I don’t know. He tweeted and the people went mad. But they went mad only online. And after two days, Ropshun decided to leave the country to another country to have his health checked. Because you see the thing with Ropshun and his entire administration and the administrations before, they know that if they were forced to seek medical help in this country alone, with the federal hospitals the way they left them and the private hospitals struggling to survive, they would all die. Every single last fat one of them would die. This knowledge, when it finally gets to the people, might prove to be useful in the coming years.
I’m sure by now you wonder why this revolution had not yet taken place at this time in Ropshun’s reign. Let me let you in on something. In Ropshun’s nation, money spoke. Money spoke and the deaf heard, the blind saw the words and the mute sought to talk back to it. And in a country with people plagued with the fashion show of suffering in heels, a few people with money were able to do anything. The people were not totally in the right, because at the end of the day, they all voted for these people regardless of their credibility or lack thereof. There are even rumours of how some politicians brought bags of rice to buy votes on election day. So yes, the senate being full of retards earning way too much money, the governors selling schools and stealing pensions, the representatives who represented no one but themselves, all these people were elected by the people.
And so one of the reasons why the people could not rise up was the fear, of death, of being killed, of dying for a cause that would not live after you. They feared what the leaders would do to them. And there was also superstition. Religion was a strong tool the politicians used that was not apparent.
The people were not aware of what was happening. Senate members who blatantly broke several rules of several holy books quoted these holy books when it was time to deny women rights that would recognise them as full human beings or when they were passing the law to criminalise people’s preferences in bed. And the people, when their restless souls told them to shout, to revolt, to do something, would say “God will fight for us” or “It is in God’s hands, let’s just pray to God to make the country better.” I like to think that God was, and still is, looking down at us and the mess we made of ourselves and ignoring the prayers. Ignoring them hard.
I am typing a lot faster now because there is noise outside my apartment. I live in a tenement house in the city that does not sleep. The city does not sleep for many reasons; there is heat because there is no light, there are brave mosquitoes who relish the heat and the darkness, there are people who have money and want to make sure they enjoy it. All these things in this one city. The noise outside my apartment is guttural. It is escaping the throats of men and women who are tired of being called fools to their faces and made to eat shit.
I think it is time I tell you the year and explain how the revolution is happening. The year is 2019. A week after the presidential elections. Ropshun has won again and is to begin his second term in 2020. The people are angry. The placards are saying “DON’T TELL ME NONSENSE, I KNOW WHAT I VOTED.” Because the people know that they did not vote Ropshun a second time. It has become clear that the electoral commission is anything but independent. And so the people started small protests that slowly and eventually involved the law enforcement. The law enforcement who, all these years, were paid to protect politicians who stole money meant for the people. The people of the law enforcement joined the revolution after they too found that the monies they received from these politicians were not enough to give them the life they wanted; needed. Their kids still went to bad schools and if they fell sick went to hospital buildings that looked sick in the way buildings tend to look when abandoned. So they joined, a majority of them. And they held the politicians captive in their homes. Their passports all burned.
Yes, the plan is to get to Ropshun. The revolution will rise to the very top. The first phase of the plan is to start from the ground up. From councillors to governors and demand, by force if necessary, all their records and dealings. The plan is to take transparency into our hands. Use that fear they have used on us against them. And there is no remorse felt, for them and theirs. Because for a long time all the people ever wanted was to get the barest minimum. The people were not and had never been hard to please.
“Give us light”
“Fix our roads”
“Give us good hospitals”
“Fix our schools”
“Just do SOMETHING. Anything.”
The banging on my door has gotten louder. I am writing to you because I know you are in the past and you can do something before it gets this bad. And yes, it is bad. Many of these young men and women with voices raised will probably die. Because we will face resistance. Because the country is at a point where prayers are now nothing more than noise directed towards the sky and redemption can only be bought with blood. I have no idea how far back I am sending this. But when you do read this, read it out in the open, let them know that if they have not seen a Mr. Kwa Ropshun yet, then he is coming, and that if they see him now, tell them to try starting to fix things.
I am going to join them, the people chanting outside my door, and possibly die with them. But I die now because I know that this revolution won’t die with me. The people are not backing down. They cannot kill all of us. And even if they try to, by God, death will take us all – People, Ropshun, everyone.
But please, don’t let it get to this.
Ciroma Chukwuma Adekunle.